Smart Motorways in the UK

The Highways Agency is now rolling out Smart Motorways across the UK. The principle behind Smart Motorways is to improve traffic flow along the motorway network.

There are three varieties of Smart Motorways being installed so it is important to understand the differences. The three options are All Lane Running, Controlled Motorways, and Hard Shoulder Running.

All Lane Running is where there is no hard shoulder on these sections of motorway. You will need to obey variable speed limits and should not stop on the motorway. If you need to stop in an emergency, you should use an emergency refuge area or a motorway service area or leave the motorway at the next junction.

Controlled Motorways have three or more lanes with variable speed limits. The hard shoulder should only be used in a genuine emergency.

Hard Shoulder Running is where at busy times the hard shoulder is opened up to use as an additional lane for traffic. When hard shoulder running is in place the motorway speed limit is reduced. You should not use the hard shoulder unless the overhead signs show that you can do so.

Should a red X cross symbol appear above the lane you are driving this means the lane is closed due to an incident or there are people working on the road. When the red X appears you should move across to a operational open lane on the motorway.